Chloe is thriving with her new family

Chloe, November 2009

Chloe at her Family Reunion 11/09

Second chances

I am happy that there are times in this life for a second chance.  I have felt so worried about Chloe after the terrible mistake I made giving her to her first adoptive family.  I felt so responsible for not following my gut, for not following H.E.L.P. procedure and interviewing absolutely everyone in the family, and for failing her in general.  But seeing her at the first ever Chloe Family Reunion was like getting a pardon from the Universe. 

Chloe looked fabulous.  On the outside she was the happy, confident dog I remembered.  Her coat looked good, better even than when she was with me.  Her eyes shone.  She held her ears and tail with interest and calmness.  But the thing that mattered the most to me was what I saw in her in relation to her new family.  She was clearly bonded to them. 

But let me start at the beginning.

Chloe reunion Nov. 2009I saw her at first and nearly cried.  She came out of the car so differently than she did the night she was returned to me.  She was interested and approached me cautiously but directly.  She sniffed, stepped back and then sniffed again.  I believe she remembered me.  When she got outside with her pups it was clear that she remembered my yard.  She ran like she used to, circling the yard over and over again – tail high, tongue hanging out.  She was completely happy though, not a frantic running, just a run for the pure joy of it.  Then she greeted her pups, sniffing each on the nose.  There was much wagging and nuzzling all around.  Everyone commented on how they were certain the group remembered one another.  At one point I even saw Chloe lie down on her back as her pups gathered round!  Just like she used to when she was still nursing them!  But that didn’t last long and she was up again racing around the yard, her pups in pursuit.

Chloe relaxingAfter a number of games of chase, numerous wrestling matches (everyone having fun, no aggression whatsoever!) and a few tug of war games, everyone dispersed to explore on their own.  Chloe found a mud puddle and promptly lay down in it.  Something she used to do while living with me.  As the afternoon wore on each of the dogs’ energy was drained, and I noticed them going to their people and resting.  Chloe did that too – joined her family, laying at her new mama’s feet and snoozed. 

I can’t tell you how important that gesture was to me.  She normally would rest away from me when she lived at my house…preferring to be alone.  She’d allow me to pet her or snuggle her for a bit but she’d always get up and move away from me.  But on Sunday I saw what I had hoped but didn’t dare to mention at this early date – she chose to stay by her new family, even when she had 2 acres and lots of other dogs and folks to hang out with.  She went to them.  They are her pack.  She trusts them and feels safe with them.  It was bittersweet for me to see but it felt oh so right.  Bittersweet because I loved her so much and could have taken her so easily into my pack had I had the space in my heart and my home…but I didn’t and I couldn’t so I kept her at arms length, and she me.  And now she has what she deserves, a family of her own.  She is loved and wanted deeply and she loves them back.  She belongs. 

puppy reunionAs her new family gathered up their things to leave I found it difficult to express just how important to me it was that they took a chance on her and that they treated her with the love and respect that she deserved.  I felt like embracing them, I felt like crying.  I felt so happy.  I felt so sad.  I know it sounds dramatic.  There are so many good, decent, loving, caring people out there.  My faith in humanity is restored after every encounter like this.

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